We're All Alright!
Big Machine Records - 2017
If there were still any lingering worries that Cheap Trick were going to start wearing cowboy hats and singing about broken down pickup trucks and runaway dogs because they are on a primarily country music label in Big Machine Records, the band dispels that insane notion right from the start of their new album We're All Alright!
They do this by starting the disc off with four blaring from the speakers aggressive rock and roll numbers that simultaneously retain that inherent sense of cheeky melodies that are part of the band's signature sound. From the opening "You Got It Going On" to the first single "Long Time Coming" and the songs "Nowhere" and "Radio Lover", the loud, noisy and yet tightly melodic musical soundtrack and vocals from Rick Nielsen's favorite singer "in the whole wide world", Robin Zander, grab you from note one and make YOU hang on for dear life.
I really enjoyed the band's previous album Bang Zoom Crazy...Hello and reviewed that one quite positively. However, in the interest of full disclosure, I kind of stopped listening to it and just haven't gotten around to putting it back in the CD player. I don't see that happening with this new album. I want to keep playing this one, which by the way is the deluxe version of the release so you get three extra tracks.
In the song "Lolita", the band slows the pace down a bit after four straight balls-out rockers. It still moves along at a good clip, but there's less of a sense of frenzy in the delivery. But the slower song stylings from the band are few and far between as they rock out time and time again. The sublimely titled "Brand New Name On An Old Tattoo" has a fantastic sound as it burns rubber through your ears. I have to say that it is definitely one of my favorite tracks on the album. It's got a zesty feel to it and I would figuratively kill to see them do that one in concert. Robin Zander gives takes an understated vocal turn on "She's Alright" and I thought this vocal choice elevated the song as a whole. It is another personal favorite from the album.
The band's cover of "Blackberry Way", the 1968 song from The Move was okay but really nothing special so for the 2nd straight album I was disappointed in their choice of a cover song. The vocals for "Floating Down" saw Zander in the highest part of his register, but unlike other songs in the band's catalog that feature that same kind of almost soaring and grandiose vocal track, this one left me feeling a bit hollow. The song "The Rest Of My Life" ended up saddled with a simple shrug of the shoulders from me. It was disappointingly pedestrian and if I was to do so, it would be designated as a "skip" track.
Thankfully, the misses are kept at a minimum because the band rebounds with songs like "Listen To Me" and "Like A Fly". Each song steps lively and with "Like A Fly" in particular, I didn't want the song to end it was so good.
The band collaborated once again with producer Julian Raymond for We're All Alright!. He helped out with backing vocals and co-wrote four of the songs as well. If you have been a fan of Cheap Trick over the years, you'll find that this album has plenty of meat on the bones when it comes to the individual songs. The band seems to really be firing on all cylinders here. The majority of the songwriting is out of this world fantastic and I can't help but think they are as tight in their performances as they've ever been.
It has been more than 40 years since Cheap Trick started out from Rockford, Illinois and I don't want to come off as being too hyperbolic, but I think We're All Alright! shows that the band is simply getting better with age.
Rating: 4.3 out 5.0
I almost agree with you. This one was a bit slow to grow on me for some reason, but it has grown quite well. It should finish the year quite strong for me. The place we disagree would be the songs that didn't quite work for you. I really liked all of those tracks.
I'm glad you liked them but we're definitely not finding common ground on that particular point. A buddy of mine who is a HUGE Cheap Trick fan liked the review and shared it with a few people in some Cheap Trick group on FB.